High blood pressure is a common medical condition in the Western world and if left untreated can cause severe damage to the body in the form of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and even dementia. There is controversy over whether sustained stress leads to hypertension because in some cases people who are stressed have blood pressure (BP) that is fine, while there are others who seem laid-back who have dangerously elevated BP. However, there is no controversy about the idea that stress can lead to lifestyle choices that can contribute to a rise in blood pressure. People who are more stressed are more likely to do the following, all of which are a contributing factor to increasing BP:

-skip exercise
-indulge in unhealthy foods
-drink alcohol
-smoke cigarettes

The benefits of yoga’s stress-lowering attributes can actually help reverse the tendencies above and promote lifestyle choices that are healthier. Yoga tends to encourage people to want to take better care of themselves by promoting the following:

-cardiovascular exercise
-weight loss
-natural ease of the body
-peace of mind
-self study
-awareness of breath, body, mind, and environment

Through yoga you can learn to be aware of stress triggers and learn techniques that will help you respond to the triggers in a way that can help you relax, feel good, and come back to the stressful situation with a new perspective. With awareness and understanding of the inner self and environment, people tend to treat themselves kinder; it feels good to feel good!